Video games 'good for well-being' says University of Oxford study

2020/11/16 13:41

Today's Vocabulary

1. anonymised (v)
to remove any information that shows which particular person something relates to

2. experiences (n)
(the process of getting) knowledge or skill from doing, seeing, or feeling things

3. achievements (n)
something very good and difficult that you have succeeded in doing

4. compelled (adj)
having to do something, because you are forced to or feel it is necessary

5. content (adj)
pleased with your situation and not hoping for change or improvement

6. discrepancy (n)
a difference between two things that should be the same

Video games 'good for well-being' says University of Oxford study

People who play video games for long periods of time tend to report feeling happier than those who do not, a study has indicated.

The Oxford Internet Institute research focused on two games: Nintendo’s Animal Crossing and EA’s Plants vs Zombies.  In an unusual step, the developers of the games shared anonymised data about how long each participant had played. These logs were then linked to a survey in which the players answered questions about their well-being.

A total of 3,274 gamers took part. All were over 18. In previous research, data gathered about the duration of subjects’ gaming sessions was based on self-reported “guesstimates”, which can be inaccurate.

Nintendo solely provided data on playing times in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. But EA also shared some data about in-game performance within Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. This included achievements, and the emoticons the participants had used to express themselves. The gamers were also asked how they felt about their experiences.

Prof Andrew Przybylski, who led the study, said he was surprised by the results. “If you play Animal Crossing for four hours a day, every single day, you’re likely to say you feel significantly happier than someone who doesn’t,” he said.

But, he added, 40 years of previous research had suggested the longer people played, the more unhappy they said they were. The academic suggested that one reason for the discrepancy might be that both of these games had social features, in which players interacted with characters controlled by other humans.

However, he said that those who had felt compelled to play – for example because they were seeking to avoid stress elsewhere in their lives – had reported being less content.


  1. Some people say that video games are a waste of time. Do you agree or disagree?
  2. People play games on computers, phones, consoles and in arcades. On what kind of machine or device do you prefer to play a game?
  3. Children enjoy video games. How old should a child be before he or she is allowed to play video games?

“A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”

Jane McGonigal